Monstrous Compendium Ch7 bit – Careful

Shaman Testutora; Grandma Tiger. The weretigress who brought her people out of Sarlona alive, fleeing the Inspired.

A legend of Aincrad. Who felt within her rights to drag Kirito in by the scruff of the neck like a too-curious cub. Asuna smiled, oddly warmed.

“I’ll be careful,” Kirito assured the shaman, bowing to take his leave. Lowered his voice as he gave Asuna an aside glance. “Why does everyone think I’m not careful?”

Asuna granted the weretigress her best curtsey. “You solo the front lines.”

“Carefully!”

The mobs that popped up outside of Snow Springs were mostly small but fast. Asuna took out the majority of them while Kirito mapped this part of the level all over again. “I need to talk to Argo and some of the mid-level guilds.” She skewered the second-to-last Shock Lizard in mid-leap with a simple Linear, listening to the scuffle and meep behind her, followed by the chime of dissolving polygons. “If the levels can change this much, we have to keep updating the maps. Or no one will be able to level up fast enough to join the clearers when we need them.”

“Huh. Good idea.”

He hadn’t drawn his sword. He hadn’t used darkfire; she’d have felt that magic unleashed. And he wasn’t even breathing hard. “How do you do that?”

There on cue, the innocent blink. “Do what?”

“Grr….”

“The setting’s starting to look right.” Kirito stepped carefully between flowering pitcher plants, halting for a moment as something small and snaky scurried away from them. “This should be fed by the spring that goes underground in her cave. Now we should start going uphill.”

“Starting to? It doesn’t look the same?” Asuna followed in his footsteps; it was just a bit squooshy around here. “So it wasn’t just the lake that changed.”

“Heh. No.” Kirito smiled a bit, dodging a red-winged dragonfly bent on stuffing its mandibles with mosquitoes. “The cave we’re looking for used to be twenty-eight levels farther down.”

Asuna blinked away a drift of pollen. Shook her head, ears twitching. “Something from level twelve got moved here? How? Why?”

“Maybe a Dark Pack wizard wanted all the troublemakers in one place.”

“What Dark Pack-” Asuna cut herself off, realization trailing an icy finger down her spine. Kayaba.

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23 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch7 bit – Careful

  1. ……… Welp. I’m reminded of something my dad told me a Special Forces instructor told him while on a training exercise. They were orienteering, and according to the map, they could orient on the road or on a hill. Of course they’re all turned around so they aren’t sure where along the road they might be, what side of it their on, and there were difficulties that implied the road might not be where the map said it was. In the words of the instructor, “It takes a mean mofo to change a terrain feature. We orient from the hill.” Or something like that.

    So. Moving a terrain feature like the cave? It takes a mean mofo. Or is the opening to the cave suddenly higher up? Magic offers all sorts of possibility on what an entrance actually leads to.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. …dude. He moved her cave. He //moved// Sethano’s cave!

    Which does nothing to prove or deny who or what caused a whole town to be washed away. But damn. I wonder if Sethano had any say in where she was moved to?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Kirito’s being sneaky here. Remember that at this point he knows that the Youkai Lords are against Kayaba/Beniryuu along with the whole ‘other world’ thing.

    Problem is, he can’t simply tell Asuna and have her belive him. Also Beniryuu would scry him doing so and Bad Things(tm) would very likely happen.

    So he’s introducing Stheno to Asuna in the frame of being an enemy of the Dark Pack.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. >
        Especially since Asuna’s just met one legend; knowing already she’s going to meet another might make her very suspicious….
        >
        Of course there is the fact that he wants her to be suspicious about things. He can’t tell her directly so he’s got to lead her down the proverbial garden path.

        Downside is that she’s going to be rather annoyed at Kirito playing her like this. Fortunately she’s a (semi) dragon so offering her a very nice shiny and profuse apologizes might prevent her from inflicting severe bodily harm on him.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. >
        Nope. Darn!
        >
        Rats. It could have been a beautiful comedic scene where Asuna needs to put on a ring for protection against poison etc and Kirito (packrat that he is) pulls out said ring and offers it to her.

        Problem is that he forgot to really explain WHY she needs to put on the ring. Being the massively over-grinding ranger that he is, he sometimes forgets that other people can’t pick up the extremely subtle cues of XYZ gribble nearly as easily as he can.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Probably did want all the troublemakers in one spot. After all, it would be easier to spy . . . er monitor them if they were one spot versus scattered all over the game.

    I’m kinda of hoping that Kayaba’s attempt to shift full control back to himself ends up backfiring extensively.

    Like, yeah, maybe he can watch them easier in one spot but they also don’t have to roam as far to find each other.

    Yes, it’s harder to monitor Kayaba but there is a reason that scattering something or your enemies to the four winds is popular. Hard to concentrate your resources when they are scattered from one end of the world to the other in groups that are too small to challenge the powers that be.

    Of course, scattering them does them a chance to spread their troublemaking influence to more places. So there is some merit to do some form of quarantine of your troublemakers.

    Think there are some serious violations of the Evil Overlord List in this mess. Guess this version of Kayaba didn’t read it.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Human list. Couldn’t possibly be accurate, right?

        Just keep telling yourself that Kayaba.

        Ignore how this statement just made the Merciful Goddess fall on the floor laughing even harder than hir already was . . . (my bunnies note that Sanzo took himself, his monkey, and his idiots off to anywhere but here once the giggling started – he did not want know nor was he going to stick around long enough to find out, that way lies madness . . . and the possibility of getting sent on another impossible quest that involve him picking up even more idiots . . . which, no, definitely no, run away and don’t look back . . .)

        And heh. I have a few ideas on what Kirito’s going to organize and make possible….

        Well there was a heh there, I have the feeling that statement really needs dramatic thunderclap and a supervillain laugh . . .

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I think he skimmed the Evil Overlord list. He forgot the Napalm though.(In the case of detachment going missing in heavy woods break out Napalm rather than troops)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You know with all the comments about how Kirito is working to subvert the dragons plans , and he’s going to X and Y to achieve it…I’m just waiting for that moment when he’s standing there going “I did it” and then Dragon!Kayaba! is all like “Grats, you did it. You pulled it off!” and its revealed ‘piss humans/Kirito off enough to subvert the obvious plan’ WAS the actual plan..

    Liked by 1 person

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